Phalinn Ooi / CC-BY-2.0

A group of more than 2,000 physicians has released a paper calling for the establishment of a universal government-run healthcare system in the U.S.

The Guardian reports:

According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare.

The new single-payer system would be funded mostly by existing US government funding. The physicians point out that the US government already pays for two-thirds of all healthcare spending in the US, and a single-payer system would cut down on administrative costs, so a transition to a single-payer system would not require significant additional spending.

“Our patients can’t afford care and don’t have access to the care they need, while the system is ever more wasteful, throwing away money on bureaucratic expenses and absurd prices from the drug companies,” said David Himmelstein, a professor in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Himmelstein, one of the authors of the plan, said the proposal is meant as a rallying cry for physicians and other healthcare professionals around the cause of a single-payer model. According to the paper, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act many patients “face rising co-payments and deductibles that compromise access to care and leave them vulnerable to ruinous medical bills”. Despite the current high healthcare spending levels in the US, healthcare outcomes are worse than in comparable well-funded countries. …

Under the proposal, all US residents would be able to see any physician of their choosing in the country and be treated at any hospital. With guaranteed coverage and no co-pays, deductibles and premiums, patients would not have financial barriers to seeking care, which would lead to greater utilization of the system and improved health outcomes, Himmelstein argues. …

“We would have to abolish the insurance companies, there is no way around that,” Himmelstein said. The employees at the private insurance companies would be retrained for other jobs, he explains, and receive job placement assistance. The insurance CEOs, who earn multimillion dollar salaries, would not get comparable job placement, Himmelstein said wryly.

Continue reading.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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